a period of problems

A period of problems. Get it? Because your menstrual cycle is called a period because it's a period of time and that period of time when you get your period is just a period of problems. It makes sense in my head.

A signal of womanhood. That's what everyone says when you begin your period. Incorrect, I know, but we have a long way to go before people disassociate having ovaries with being a woman. Still, people make it seem like a rebirth. Something incredible. Of course, they mention it's a bit uncomfortable and inconvenient. Yet, it is still one of the Voldemorts of human functions. He who must not be named, or spoke of, or acknowledged, or destigmatized. I could go on.

They don't tell you that you will have to try every single type of tampon, pad, panty liner etc. under the sun before you find one which stops leaks, and isn't completely uncomfortable. Or that you will ruin underwear because although your period is meant to come in a regular cycle, some months it just thinks ‘she’s got a beautiful pair of pants on today, let's just fuck them up a week early because we can’. They don’t mention the shift in gravity when you get up in the morning causes Niagara falls to temporarily visit your vagina. Or that even if you hate baths, you will want to marry them because they are the time out step of periods. Or the ‘is it that time of the month’ comments when you seem a little off, even if it isn’t. They skip the part where you are shouting at your dog at one in the morning because it looked at you funny and then crying five minutes later because you didn’t mean to hurt its feelings.

They completely remove all talk about the pain. Little men in your ovaries stabbing the walls with knives. When you are laying on the floor in a classroom because your legs don't work, or you're dragging yourself up the stairs with your arms because the pain is making you feel sick, then you realise how shit period pain is. Paracetamol? Oh no, hardly works. Yes, the doctor can put you on medication if you can actually get yourself an appointment with the local GP. They suggested I go on the pill, however, I cannot due to my folic acid deficiency. So they put me on tranexamic acid in order to try and soften my flow. Worked for about three months, with minimal pain. Stopped working. I had to wait a further three months for an appointment that I could get to with a female doctor. I shouldn’t need a female doctor. I just can’t help feeling embarrassed. A reason why we need to normalize periods. I am now on some other acid tablets, of which I cannot remember the name. I have used them once so I cannot tell you if they work or not yet, however, I don’t have high hopes.

I have been through a personal hell with periods. I know people out there have it worse but honestly. The pain, the anger, the lack of sleep, the fatigue, the lack of interest. They suspect PMDD. Exciting.

But they don’t tell you all this, do they?. No. All they say is that you bleed for a week (or longer if like me, your body hates you) and that you need some form of blood catcher down there. Oh, and they may mention toxic shock syndrome causing every girl to change their tampon every half hour because they are scared to death but that's about it. Why? I don’t know. They might as well just mention all the gory details because it happens. We all get it. Boys know it exists, why not teach them too so they don’t make silly uneducated comments or look at you like you’re an alien when you pull out a pad. Society encourages us not to discuss an issue faced by almost 3.7 billion people (give or take a few) which is illogical. 

Education is key and it will help people solve underlying health issues. It will encourage more people to see male doctors. It will encourage boys to not be such twats. Normalizing periods, for both cis and trans people (I cannot write about the struggle of having a period whilst being trans, I can imagine how terrible it is, here is some extra reading if you're interested, I recommend doing some research), has incredible benefits.

Schools, and parents alike, really should work on it.